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World Cup Group D

Hodgson nods towards Milner

Manager Roy Hodgson says James Milner could be the key man to guide England in Tuesday's tricky World Cup qualifier in the Ukraine.

Last Updated: 07/09/13 at 17:26 Post Comment

James Milner: Experience needed in Ukraine on Tuesday

James Milner: Experience needed in Ukraine on Tuesday

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Hodgson was left fuming after Friday's demolition of Moldova with Danny Welbeck's suspension denying the team the services of yet another striker, following injuries to Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney.

But after an impressive 20-minute cameo at Wembley, it would seem Milner is in the frame to act as stand-in and ensure the team take another step towards making the FIFA tournament in Brazil in 2014.

"We know what James will do," said Hodgson. "He isn't, and doesn't pretend to be, as exciting as some of the wingers we sometimes use these days.

"After a long period of time where I've not seen many wingers in the country, I'm now seeing lots of them. But we are going to need experience in Kiev. Milner is not a winger, but the qualities he brings could be very useful."

One bright note for Hodgson is that the pressure will be on Ukraine to attack after a shock draw with Moldova means they head into Tuesday's game needing a win to wrest the destiny of the group out of England's hands.

A draw and victory in their last two games against Montenegro and Poland will mean the England players booking their flights to Rio next summer.

Despite the injury and suspension set-backs robbing him of so many key frontmen, Hodgson remains upbeat for their task in Kiev.

"I can't say that is a positive thing to be without Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck and to know Daniel Sturridge might not be with us either," Hodgson added.

"But I believe the group of players we have will step up to the plate. They won't let us down."

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